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Seat assignments gone, flight overbooked- any recourse?

Seat assignments gone, flight overbooked- any recourse?

Old Jan 16, 19, 11:17 pm
  #1  
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Seat assignments gone, flight overbooked- any recourse?

Delta has apparently given away our seats on an upcoming flight, and Iím wondering what our recourse is, if anything.

My husband and I purchased First/Delta One tickets to Hawaii several months ago. Over the months there have been a few relatively insignificant schedule changes, but today I checked on our flights and found that our return flights (30 days from now) are completely screwed up. I received email notifications about the earlier minor schedule changes, but no notification of this latest major one. My husband and I both have Gold Medallion status, FWIW, which is not much, I suspect.

Our original return itinerary was LIH-HNL-MSP-IND, with the HNL-MSP overnight segment in Delta One.
Now we currently have no flight from LIH-HNL(easy enough to remedy), and although the HNL-MSP flight has remained the same we now somehow no longer have seat assignments and there is only one available seat left on the plane for the 2 of us. The MSP-IND was relatively unchanged, and there are plenty of seats left, so that leg isnít a problem.

So, I called Delta, and they said, ďOh, too bad. When there are schedule changes these things happen.Ē
They said they could get us on a flight out the day before our scheduled departure (not acceptable), or the day after. (a HUGE inconvenience, and not an insignificant expense), or put us in coach in a truly miserable routing. Ideally, of course, we would prefer to be on our originally scheduled flight.

I didnít make a decision tonight about how to resolve the issue, and wanted to see if you all had any suggestions for how I should handle it, and to see whether you think we should expect any sort of compensation.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 12:28 am
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Typically the lack of a seat assignment is not a significant concern ó if you are still ticketed in Delta One, it is still likely that you will end up with a seat somewhere in the cabin. You might end up with a downgrade in an oversold situation, but it seems too far out to say for sure. Sounds like there mightíve been an equipment swap?
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Old Jan 17, 19, 1:06 am
  #3  
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OP - It definitely sucks and I’ve had this happen myself. I’m a Diamond and they still wouldn’t do anything. But it sounds like staying on your original flights is important so I would first grab the one open seat there is and then either:

A) Create a seat alert on ExpertFlyer to get notification of when another D1 seat opens so you can grab it

or

B) Check the seat map routinely 1-2x a day over the next 30-days, specifically ~7 days till departure. Peoples plans change and 1 more seat will likely open.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 3:51 am
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Originally Posted by FSUnole03 View Post
OP - It definitely sucks and Iíve had this happen myself. Iím a Diamond and they still wouldnít do anything. But it sounds like staying on your original flights is important so I would first grab the one open seat there is and then either:

A) Create a seat alert on ExpertFlyer to get notification of when another D1 seat opens so you can grab it

or

B) Check the seat map routinely 1-2x a day over the next 30-days, specifically ~7 days till departure. Peoples plans change and 1 more seat will likely open.
Great advice.

And keep in mind there are sometimes blocked seats that can be or will be opened up later.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 4:55 am
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Has DL confirmed that D1 on your HNL-MSP flight is actually overbooked?
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Old Jan 17, 19, 5:22 am
  #6  
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Originally Posted by LoganFlyer View Post
Has DL confirmed that D1 on your HNL-MSP flight is actually overbooked?
That's the pertinent question. U.S. carriers have to tell you if you ask (early 2000s customer commitment obligations) - but they don't have to say by how many passengers.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 5:55 am
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Originally Posted by ParsleyMay View Post
Over the months there have been a few relatively insignificant schedule changes, but today I checked on our flights and found that our return flights (30 days from now) are completely screwed up.

[...]

So, I called Delta, and they said, “Oh, too bad. When there are schedule changes these things happen.”
They said they could get us on a flight out the day before our scheduled departure (not acceptable), or the day after. (a HUGE inconvenience, and not an insignificant expense), or put us in coach in a truly miserable routing. Ideally, of course, we would prefer to be on our originally scheduled flight.
You don't say exactly what day you were flying which potentially impacts the options. Sun 17 Feb still has a few D1 seats on your routing for sale, whereas Sat and Mon have none.

While it's annoying, I think the best option here is simply to find an itinerary you're willing to fly and switch to it. Did DL offer you an itinerary or did you tell them what you wanted? Agents aren't always going to proactively look for every option for you, but will happily move you to whatever you ask. Perhaps you're willing to route via SEA or LAX in domestic F with an appropriate fare refund, if schedule is the most important thing. Or perhaps they can move you to one of the daytime HNL-LAX flights (so no need to sleep).

I get that you want your original seats back, but that's unlikely to happen and now you're after "least bad solution with appropriate compensation."

Originally Posted by FSUnole03 View Post
A) Create a seat alert on ExpertFlyer to get notification of when another D1 seat opens so you can grab it

or

B) Check the seat map routinely 1-2x a day over the next 30-days, specifically ~7 days till departure. Peoples plans change and 1 more seat will likely open.
While this is generally good advice, I wouldn't rely on it happening for HI flights, where premium cabin travel is mostly planned ahead leisure (like the OP).
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Old Jan 17, 19, 7:59 am
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OP, can you ask DL to reroute you on LIH-HNL-ATL-IND? (HNL-ATL would also be D1 with a lie-flat)
**Or even LIH-HNL-JFK-IND if HNL-JFK is operating on that date? (JFK-HNL/HNL-JFK is seasonable so it may not be operating on your travel date but may be an alternate as well if it is operating)
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Old Jan 17, 19, 8:08 am
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Whenever there are schedule changes the best course of action is to always look for alternatives that work best for you before calling the airline. Then start offering those alternatives to the agent.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 9:28 am
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I don't think it is likely DL will IDB a Gold in D1. I would keep your current itinerary, and have a known backup available to suggest if you want to volunteer. On day of flight you could get a large VDB compensation.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 11:14 am
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Thank you all for your good advice.
Yes, DL has confirmed that the HNL-MSP flight is overbooked.
I'm currently looking into decent alternatives to offer DL as a solution.

MarkCron, I'm tempted to do just that, but DL would need to first get us to HNL, and I'm sure that they're willing to do that if we don't have ongoing seats.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 11:50 am
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Originally Posted by MarkCron View Post
I don't think it is likely DL will IDB a Gold in D1. I would keep your current itinerary, and have a known backup available to suggest if you want to volunteer. On day of flight you could get a large VDB compensation.
Per the COC it is almost impossible to IDB a GM, D1, F, DM, PM and GM will be IDB'd only if they are the only ones left to pick from. Plus it looks like only D1 is sold out so any DB is unlikely. Being moved from D1 to C+ or coach is not considered DB, just being downgraded.

I hope the OP finds something that works out for them.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 12:00 pm
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I don't think that IDB is the issue. Rather it is downgrade. Downgrades are processed in what amounts to reverse upgrade order. Thus, seat assignments are not dspositive.

As OP is asking for some certainty, the best approach is for OP to do the legwork. Some good suggestions are above. In each case, make sure to price them. If they are cheaper than what you have now, ask DL to cancel your current tickets for a refund and then purchase the new cheaper tickets yourself.

The key is not to ask DL for solutions, rather to propose solutions you want. Have them ready to read off to the agent.

Bear in mind that the bottom line here is that DL's sole contractual obligation is to refund the fare difference if downgraded. DL also, by policy pays out a smallish voucher for the inconvenience.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 12:21 pm
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Thank you all for your help.
We have a daughter & grandchild in Seattle, so we ended up asking DL to reroute us on day/evening flights LIH-HNL-SEA, avoiding a red-eye in uncomfortable seats, and then 2 days later a nonstop flight SEA-IND. We figured having one full day with family there was one way to make up for the inconvenience. The super-nice and helpful agent I talked to also got us each a $100 DL voucher toward a future flight.
So, as displeased as I am about the whole SNAFU, it has all worked out all right.
Thanks again!
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Old Jan 17, 19, 12:27 pm
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Originally Posted by ParsleyMay View Post
Thank you all for your help.
We have a daughter & grandchild in Seattle, so we ended up asking DL to reroute us on day/evening flights LIH-HNL-SEA, avoiding a red-eye in uncomfortable seats, and then 2 days later a nonstop flight SEA-IND. We figured having one full day with family there was one way to make up for the inconvenience. The super-nice and helpful agent I talked to also got us each a $100 DL voucher toward a future flight.
So, as displeased as I am about the whole SNAFU, it has all worked out all right.
Thanks again!
If you're happy that's what matters and glad it worked out. The one bummer is if you paid for D1 but are now on SEA-HNL and then SEA-IND, you'll be an aircraft with a domestic FC product (standard FC recliner seat, not a lie-flat). For a daytime flight that may be less important but it's less comfortable for sitting/relaxing than the D1 seat you would have on the 767 or A330 on HNL-MSP.
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